Priority is when something has to come first because of importance or its place in a series of steps. For example, “my wife has a prior claim on my affections.”
If all you mean is earlier of before, say that. Here’s an example of this misuse of prior. Two, actually:
Using our system, we detect anti-adblockers on 30.5% of the Alexa top-10K websites which is 5-52 times more than reported in prior literature. Unlike prior work which is limited to detecting visible reactions (e.g., warning messages) by anti-adblockers, our system can discover attempts to detect adblockers even when there is no visible reaction.
All they mean is earlier. I’m pretty sure these folks aren’t suggesting that the earlier literature and work are more important or ought to be read first.
Should I also mention their misuse of “which” when they should use “that”? Nah, I already covered that.
Academics can be so pretentious. Harrumph.